Katharine Houghton, actress, playwright
Katharine Houghton Grant was born March 10, 1945, in Hartford, Connecticut. Her father Ellsworth was the former mayor of West Hartford, and her mother Marion was a local theatre actress. However, it was the aunt Katharine was named for that would later help start and shape her career: the great Katharine Hepburn.
While attending college in 1966, she made a trip at the behest of her Communist grandmother to Soviet Russia. There she met Andre, the young man who would change her life forever. They were only together for four days, but she spent the next 30 years writing him letters about her fame and failures. In 1989 they were finally reunited, and in 1993 Andre moved to America. (Sadly, he passed away in 1995. Katharine never married, she said, because Andre "was the love of my life.")
After earning a degree in philosophy from Sarah Lawrence College, Katharine began acting in the theater (using the name Katharine Houghton) and made two small appearances on hour-long teledramas. In 1967, she got her big break when, at the prodding of her aunt, she auditioned for and earned the role of open-minded Joanna Drayon in the Hepburn/Tracy vehicle of racial views in America, Guess Who's Coming To Dinner.
Following the success of the movie and her own lauded performance (earning a Golden Globe nomination), Katharine made a career choice that even her close aunt questioned: she moved back to New York City and began working in off-off-Broadway plays and only appearing sporadically in student films and low-budget sci-fi features. At the same time, however, Katharine began publishing plays to varying degrees of success.
Over the years, Katharine made several appearances on television and in the movies: from brief stints in Billy Bathgate and Seeds of Evil to a recurring role in the celebrated TV miniseries "The Adams Chronicles", Katharine wasn't starving for work. At the same time, however, the play was the thing for Ms. Houghton, and her work is still used in playhouses across the United States, including "Best Kept Secret", a story of love between a visiting American girl and an energetic Russian boy during the Cold War.
Katharine is also a noted scholar, presenting lectures on drama, her late aunt, and Louisa May Alcott, of whom she is a big fan.